'The Princess Bride': 10 INCONCEIVABLE facts from the Academy's live-commentary screening

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THE ARSONIST IN THE FIRE SWAMP

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The filmmaker shared the strange stories of two unusual creatures from the film: The Shrieking Eels and the Rodents of Unusual Size — and the even more vicious creature who brought one of them to life.

Reiner: The shrieking eels were interesting. We had a special effects guy named Nick Allder [an Oscar-winner for 1980’s Alien.] We called him ‘No-Problem-At-Allder’ because anytime you’d say, ‘Can we have an eel that goes under, and comes up …?’ He’d go [in a Cockney accent]: ‘No problem at all, gov’ner! No problem at all!’ It was always a problem. {Audience laughter.] It never worked. It was on a track so it looks like it’s coming at you. It’s kind of cheesy by today’s standards, but it worked.

Later, in the Fire Swamp sequence …

Reiner: Here’s an interesting thing. You’ll see the [Rodents of Unusual Size] come in, and there’s a scene where one rat kind of sniffs around. They were little people in rat suits. And the scene where he fights the rat, there was another guy named Anthony who could scurry really good. He could run around.

Reitman: [Laughs] How do you realize that?

Reiner: One was good with slow movements, but Anthony was good with fast movements. [For the fight,] I said, ‘We need Anthony for this,’ and the crew said, ‘Well, let’s try the other guy.’ I said, ‘Whaddaya mean try the other guy? Anthony’s good!’ They said, ‘We can’t use Anthony. He got arrested this morning.’ They said he got into a fight with his wife, and they owned a kennel, and he burned the kennel down. So we had to bail him out of jail so he could come and fight as an ROUS.

Onscreen, Westley and Buttercup disappear into the lightning sand as a giant rat waddles up slowly and snorts around the perimeter.

Reiner: See, this was the other guy. The other guy who was a good sniffer.

NEXT PAGE: Buttercup was (briefly) a man

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